Gujarat HC sends notice to govt on Teesta Setalvad's plea in case of illegal exhumation of bodies
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday sought the state government's response by 16 November on activist Teesta Setalvad's petition.
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday sought the state government's response by 16 November on activist Teesta Setalvad's petition, seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against her in connection with the illegal exhumation of bodies of victims of the 2002 communal riots in the state.
Justice AJ Desai issued a notice to the state government, seeking its response.
Setalvad approached the high court with the plea to quash the FIR as well as the chargesheet in the case after the Supreme Court refused to grant her any relief in the matter.
In July, the apex court had asked Setalvad to seek all the remedies, including quashing of the chargesheet filed on 3 April, 2011, from the trial court or high court.
The case pertains to the illegal exhumation of unidentified bodies of the riot victims from Pandarwada and surrounding villages in the Panchmahal district of the state.
Earlier, the high court had declined to scrap the FIR against Setalvad, but allowed her application partly by quashing the summons, which had declared her as absconding.
Setalvad is the main accused in the case and was booked under sections 192 (fabricating false evidence), 193 (punishment for false evidence), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 297 (trespassing on burial places) of the IPC.
It was alleged that in 2002, about 28 unidentified bodies of the riot victims from Pandarwada and surrounding villages in Khanpur taluka were buried in a graveyard.
Earlier, the Gujarat government, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, had justified its probe against Setalvad in the case, saying she had actually planned and executed the digging of the graves, without any permission, in 2006.
It had also claimed that during the probe, it had emerged that "Teesta Setalvad, the petitioner herein, was the main accused, who actually planned and executed this operation of digging of graves near Pandarwada through her staff."
The government had alleged that the other accused had claimed innocence and blamed Setalvad for instigating them to carry out the exhumation, which is a penal offence.
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2002 Gujarat riots: SC defers hearing on Zakia Jafri's plea against clean chit to Narendra Modi to 26 November
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said, "The matter will take some time for hearing. The plea will be heard on 26 November".
In a surprise development, a new bench of the Supreme Court will hear tomorrow the plea of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband seeking anticipatory bail in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum in Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 riots.
A team of the Gujarat police arrived at the activist's Mumbai residence to take her into custody.